A young computer hacker from Birmingham has been named as the third most wanted man on a United States “kill list” of key ISIS operatives.
Junaid Hussain fled to Syria in July 2013 and is now believed to be leading the ‘Cyber Caliphate’, his own branch of hackers from the Iraqi city of Mosul.
US officials have reportedly said there is an ‘intense’ desire to assassinate Hussain, who tweets under the alias Abu Hussain al-Britani.
Hussain was jailed in 2012 for stealing personal information of Tony Blair and posting it online.
The 21-year-old, from Kings Heath, who escaped to Syria two years ago while on police bail, is ISIS’ most accomplished hacker.
Hussain has targeted America and has posted threatening messages and propaganda videos.
Only Mohammed Emwazi, the hostage killer known as Jihadi John, and the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are higher on the list, according to reports.
After fleeing the UK, when he was on police bail for an alleged violent disorder offence, Hussain has risen rapidly through the ISIS ranks.
US officials believe he is behind the online radicalisation of at least one of the two gunmen who opened fire at a Prophet Mohammed cartoon competition in Garland, Texas, in May.
Hussain was reportedly in contact with one of the “lone wolf” gunmen before the attack, and tweeted congratulations to his “Muslim brothers” within minutes of the first shots fired.
More recently, Hussain was identified as the main suspect in the hacking of Twitter and Facebook accounts belonging to US Central Command.
Deputy editor of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain, interviewed Junaid Hussain last November via Skype.